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Stocks break two-day slump

A statue of George Washington looks out over

A statue of George Washington looks out over the New York Stock Exchange building on Wall Street on May 13, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Stan Honda

Financial markets closed slightly higher Wednesday as the market breaks a two-day slump.

At the close of trading on Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 7.3 points, nearly 0.4 percent, at 1,995.7. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 54.8 points, about 0.3 percent, to 17,068.7, and the Nasdaq composite added 34.2 points, nearly 0.8 percent, to 4,586.5. All had fallen in early trading.

UPS AND DOWNS: Apple gained 3 percent a day after announcing a mobile payment system, new iPhones and a smartwatch. Shares climbed $3.01 to close at $101.00.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts sank 3 percent after reporting earnings that fell short of analysts' forecasts. Shares dropped 54 cents to close at $17.07.

COMPETITION: On fears its PayPal division will lose business to the new Apple Pay system, eBay fell $1.63, or about 3 percent, to close at $51.10. But GPS device maker Garmin reversed big losses from Tuesday with a gain of nearly 4 percent as investors seemed to dismiss the threat from the Apple's smartwatch. Shares gained $2.06 to close at $53.77.

THE FED: Investors are questioning whether the U.S. Federal Reserve might raise its benchmark interest rate earlier than many had expected. In a paper this week, two San Francisco Fed economists said the public appears to expect a "more accommodative" policy than Fed board members do. Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities, says he expects many investors now expect the Fed to bump up rates early next year, rather than next summer. The Fed meets next week to discuss monetary policy.

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